IBM Technical Content
Jamie Roberts 2700035UUK firstname.lastname@example.org Tags:  bookmarks ibm_knowledge_center 1 Comment 3,656 Visits
Jamie Roberts 2700035UUK email@example.com 1,368 Visits
Being Social with IBM Knowledge Center
It's been an exciting week working on the IBM Knowledge Center beta, and we've been getting lots of great feedback as we get closer to the GA of IBM Knowledge Center. Please keep that feedback coming to us, by email, through social media, as comments to this blog, or more officially at our Beta feedback survey site.
There are also an increasing number of blog posts about IBM Knowledge Center and what we're trying to accomplish. For example, Steve Will, the Chief Architect for IBM i, has a great "You and i" post on IBM Knowledge Center out on the IBM Systems Magazine blog, Dorian Birsan--the Senior Development Manager responsible for the IBM Knowledge Center platform--likes the user comment there calling IBM Knowledge Center the "One Link to Rule Them All" the best, and that's in reference to IBM KC bringing together over 900 individual URLs into a single place. I'm not sure where that leaves us in terms of Tolkien's imagery, but I liked the comment as well :)
In any case, in addition to blogs and Twitter feeds (and let's not forget the recent Notes Tips Podcast episode about IBM KC), soon you'll see videos with hints and tips about IBM Knowledge Center as well.
Being Social in IBM Knowledge Center
Social media topic sharing is built in to IBM Knowledge Center, too. In addition to simply sharing URLs, you can also share directly to your email, LinkedIn and Twitter accounts from inside IBM KC:
Sharing by email works with your installed email client (through a MAPI link). When you click LinkedIn or Twitter you'll be asked for your account details as you log in, and then we'll post the URL. It's never been easier to share IBM publication content by social media!
Jamie Roberts 2700035UUK firstname.lastname@example.org 462 Visits
Search updates for IBM Knowledge Center
In some earlier posts (IBM From IBM Information Centers to IBM Knowledge Center and Narrowing Your Searches in IBM Knowledge Center) I mentioned how to get the search results you want in IBM Knowledge Center.
Over 2014, we've improved search significantly as we redirect all our Information Centers to IBM Knowledge Center. Here are some updated tips:
Searching from organic search (Google, Bing and more)
We know you look for technical answers and our content on Google and other search engines. We're very happy to report that IBM Knowledge Center continues to gain rank and extend its index presence for important technical keywords in those search engines. We also know, however, that as we redirect our Information Centers to IBM Knowledge Center there are always changes going on in the background of these engines.
To make sure you're getting results from IBM Knowledge Center, you can use the site qualifier with these engines. In a Google or Bing search, simply add the following to your search keyword:
So for example, if you were looking for troubleshooting information on IBM Domino, you could put:
troubleshooting domino site:ibm.com/support/knowledgecenter
into your search and all the results will come from IBM Knowledge Center. This works especially well on Google and Bing; Yahoo currently only uses the ibm.com domain. But we still think you'll be pleased with the results. Don't forget you can bookmark the search and use it over with different keywords.
By the way, the intitle qualifier works in Google and Bing as well (and does in the actual IBM Knowledge Center search too!). So if you're looking for results with something specifically in the title of the document, you can use that qualifier as well. Suppose, for example, you wanted to refine a search so you only see documents about big data with "tutorial" in the title. You might put this into the search box (along with the site qualifier) of Google, Bing (or Knowledge Center) to find those documents:
big data intitle:tutorial site:ibm.com/support/knowledgecenter
You'll get a focused set of results on the topic.
Auto-context search filter is redesigned, and right up front:
When you click into a product's Table of Contents, IBM Knowledge Center automatically selects a search filter for you. If you're on a specific product and version, the filter will reflect that product context. If you're on a product family page, then the search filter will automatically add all the products and versions available in IBM Knowledge Center.
In the latest revision of our IBM Knowledge Center user interface, you can turn off this behaviour directly. If you find that you're getting the results you want, click the Auto-select check-mark to turn off the automated product filter.
Add Product dialogue is redesigned, and includes type-ahead
If you want to add the products you want as search filters manually, then click the Add Products link. We've redesigned the dialogue to be simpler and easier to use. You can find the products you're looking for by typing a few characters of the name of the product, and then applying that as a filter. Note that if you keep "Auto-select" active then we will add a dynamic filter to your selections as you navigate IBM Knowledge Center.
Remember you can bookmark your search settings in IBM Knowledge Center
Once you have the product search filters you like, you can bookmark them and use them whenever you like, and share them with others directly. You can also share them across your devices with modern browsers. If security prevents you from sharing bookmarks across browsers, then log in with your IBM ID and you can save searches and search filters directly in IBM Knowledge Center.
Jamie Roberts 2700035UUK email@example.com 667 Visits
Creating PDF output "on-the-fly" from a customized collection
In my last blog post, I explained how to create custom views of the content in IBM Knowledge Center. You can pick and choose the content you want to see when you log into IBM Knowledge Center and click My Collections.
But there's one more thing you can do with a custom collection, and we think it's worthy of its own blog post :) You can create a custom PDF dynamically from any custom collection of topics you create. That PDF will reflect your revision of the content, what it includes, the order its in, your own title and your description too.
If you want to see this in action, you can in this quick YouTube video on creating collections and PDF (note the user interface has changed a little since the video was made). You can also download a PDF overview from IBM developerWorks on how to create custom PDF in IBM Knowledge Center, or get just concise step-by-step instructions.
Or you can just follow along here :)
To create PDF from a custom collection of topics in IBM Knowledge Center, select the collection in the Table of Contents and click the Create PDF File link:
Once you do this, IBM Knowledge Center will create a PDF in the background. You can continue working in IBM Knowledge Center, but in the My Collections view we will also let you know the status of your request, and how many topics we process.
When the system is done creating your PDF, it will tell you and download the PDF directly to your computer (to wherever your browser has its downloads directory):
If your browser and system supports it, you can simply click on the downloaded link to view the PDF that's just been created.
But if you get interrupted, or need to log into a different system, the link will still be there for up to an hour after IBM Knowledge Center creates it. Just log back into the system and click My Collections:
Right now, there are some limits on creating extremely large dynamic PDF files, and we're working to make the PDF itself look a bit better than it does right now. But this is still a powerful way to organize, customize and get PDF output directly from IBM Knowledge Center.
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There are three ways of discussing our content or IBM Knowledge Center, and each has its own advantages.
First, if you encounter a problem with IBM Knowledge Center, you can contact us directly by email at email@example.com.
Next, you can comment publicly on any topic in IBM Knowledge Center. Those comments will be seen by anyone coming to the topic, and also forwarded directly to the content authors, so this is a good way to discuss a topic with the people who provide that content.
Finally, you'll soon be able to send us private feedback again directly through IBM Knowledge Center on any content or on IBM Knowledge Center itself. Our old feedback card is being redesigned, and once that's completed, you'll find the Feedback link restored to the footer of IBM Knowledge Center. From there, you'll be able to send us your comments directly.
Key Differences between IBM Information Centers and our new IBM Knowledge Center
If you're used to working in our IBM Information Centers, you should feel right at home in IBM Knowledge Center. The Table of Contents works in a very similar way, and the overall layout of IBM Knowledge Center is visually quite similar.
Despite their surface similarity, though, IBM Knowledge Center is really quite different from the IBM Information Centers, and not just because it brings all the millions of pages of Information Center content into a single application on ibm.com.
For example, we've already discussed how easy it is to bookmark just about anything (including searches) in IBM Knowledge Center--something that's actually quite tricky in the older Information Centers. And last week's post discussed how you can search across IBM Knowledge but also quickly narrow your search results to just the information you want to see.
But there are other ways that IBM Knowledge Center differs from our Information Centers. Here's a quick roundup of some of the main differences, many of which we'll discuss in more detail in future IBM Technical Content Blog posts.
Search behaves like web search
You can also use quotation marks for exact strings, and Jasna Krmpotic has written a nice blog entry on the use of the :intitle operator (so you can limit your searches to results with the specified information actually in the title).
You can also create complex queries with common Boolean operators + and - signs. The plus sign stands for Boolean AND, while the minus sign stand for Boolean NOT. Coupled with exact phrases and wildcards, you can build very complex queries in IBM Knowledge Center if you want to (but we're betting you won't have to very often).
The minus and plus sign operators can cause some problems, because they're also used as prefixes to many IBM product error messages and reference statements. But IBM Knowledge Center is smart enough to offer a fix for you when you add the operators. For example, when you search by a keyword that is prefixed by a minus sign (like SQL -206), IBM Knowledge Center will ask you if you really mean the exact phrase "-206" which will return the results you want.
In this query, you're really telling search "look for SQL, but NOT 206"--which may not be what you want. If you click on the link (at the arrow point), IBM KC will correct the query for you. Note the quotation marks:
See all product versions at a glance
By the way, by default, when you navigate to (or bookmark) these pages, IBM Knowledge Center automatically applies a search filter to narrow your results to the product versions.
Find similar topics across versions
Temporarily switch languages and find out what's available
Share topics directly with email, LinkedIn and Twitter
Customize your view of our content with My Collections
Built for speed
There when you need it!
IBM Knowledge Center mobile beta now available!
Our new IBM Knowledge Center mobile beta is available and supports iOS and Android. You can get to it here:
The mobile site lets you:
IBM KC Mobile beta also lets you switch back to the full desktop site from the options page (pictures below).
We hope you like it! You can send us feedback directly by sending it to our support email address: firstname.lastname@example.org.. Early in the 2015, we'll also have other ways for you to send us feedback.
Here are some screen shots. We'll examine the mobile view of IBM KC in more detail in another blog post!
IBM Knowledge Center now houses all IBM's product technical publications!
IBM Knowledge Center:
Almost exactly one year ago today, we started our IBM Knowledge Center public beta. Our goal over the past year has always been to replace our ageing Information Center infrastructure, with its separate and individual web sites, with a new "one-stop-shop" for IBM product publications.
Over the past year, we've been refining IBM Knowledge Center and tuning its performance and capabilities. We've also been redirecting our Information Center traffic to IBM Knowledge Center.
In addition to letting you search and browse across multiple IBM product documentation sets, we also wanted to let people create their own customized views of IBM content, create PDF on-the-fly from those views, and share and bookmark pages--and even bookmark complex search queries--easily and predictably. We also wanted to make IBM Knowledge Center work across a variety of platforms and browsers, and let our users comment directly on all our content (at the bottom of every page), or privately through feedback (in the footer feedback link).
And this month, we completed the final redirection all of IBM's Information Center content to IBM Knowledge Center.
We know there have been some bumps along the way, and we're thankful for every one of our user's patience and support during this huge transition. We know, too, there are still some wrinkles to iron out of this release of IBM Knowledge Center, and we will continue to make IBM Knowledge Center--and our technical content--even better than it is today.
Jamie Roberts 2700035UUK email@example.com 1,455 Visits
IBM Knowledge Center @ ibm.com is ready to go!
Today through July 2014 we will be redirecting Information Center pages that you may have bookmarked, or links you may have, directly to the corresponding pages in IBM Knowledge Center.
As we exited our beta phase for this release, we made significant improvements to our user experience and infrastructure based on our recent beta testing. As a result, IBM Knowledge Center will now be the primary home for IBM product content on the web.
A great big thanks goes out to all of the people--inside and outside IBM--who helped bring us here. But our special thanks goes to our beta customers and end-users, who helped us understand how they work with our content and what we needed to do in IBM Knowledge Center to deliver good value with our content.
Bringing together over 900 Information Centers and tens of millions of pages into a single application has been a creatively and technically challenging task. But IBM Knowledge Center now lets you search across all that content, and also lets you customize views of IBM product content. You can even create PDF output from those customized views (which we'll discuss in the next blog post).
We know we still have many things to do in the future to make IBM Knowledge Center even better--more responsive, more compelling, more integrated with our user's application and device context, as well as easier to use. We'll talk about these things as we bring them forward (including our focus, for the next major release of IBM Knowledge Center, on IBM Design principles and practices).
But IBM Knowledge Center @ ibm.com is an important first step towards those goals.
One quick PS--if you've been helping us with our beta, you probably want to clear your browser cache to make sure you have the best experience possible with our new release.
Jamie Roberts 2700035UUK firstname.lastname@example.org 1,777 Visits
The IBM Knowledge Center Open Beta is available!
We're happy to announce the availability of our open IBM Knowledge Center Beta, live on ibm.com! The Beta will run from today until the end of February 2014.
IBM Knowledge Center is our new framework for bringing together millions of pages of IBM product publications in a single location. In IBM Knowledge Center, you can search, filter, and even customize your content experience.
Improving your technical content experience
IBM Knowledge Center brings IBM's technical publications together in a single location, and will replace over 800 individual IBM Information Centers.
For this release, we simplified the user experience, improved search, and refined the overall experience with many other enhancements. As always, you can get help on IBM Knowledge Center from the information icon in the upper right corner of the pane (also linked here):
Send us your feedback!
After you've worked with IBM Knowledge Center, sign in with your IBM ID and take a few moments to complete the survey on IBM Knowledge Center located here:
Known Beta limitations
We are still:
On behalf of the entire IBM Knowledge Center team and all our content providers, we want to thank you very much in advance for your time and for helping us make IBM Knowledge Center a better information experience!
In IBM Knowledge Center, we have collected over 800 separate Information Centers under a single entry URL on ibm.com. As a result, IBM Knowledge Center contains tens of millions of pages, and represents the technical product documentation for thousands of IBM's products and solutions.
You can search across of all of this technical information in IBM Knowledge Center and get information quickly from a single, simple search that would have taken multiple and very complex searches in the past.
But if you only want to search the content from a subset of our products, or even a single product, you can narrow your search results quickly too. So in this blog post I'll show you a number of ways to select your products to refine your search filters.
Narrowing search results with product filters
When you narrow your searches, IBM Knowledge Center shows you what products you are searching on the Products area just under the search box. When you see No products selected, you are searching all of the information in IBM Knowledge Center:
To make focusing your search as quick as possible, we've created a number of ways to narrow your products to the set you want in IBM Knowledge Center, depending on what you're doing, your own preference, and how you get to IBM Knowledge Center.
Selecting product filters with Add Products...
You can directly pick the product filters you want directly by clicking on Add Products, which is right beside the Products line.
Add Products opens a complete list of IBM KC products and solutions, and you can select a single product--or any combination of products--from that list. Select Done to apply your selections, which will show up in the Products line now, and IBM Knowledge Center will filter search results by your selection.
You can clear any product selection by clicking the X next to its name, or you can clear all the products you've selected by clicking Clear. Notice the flag which indicates there are three product versions selected.
Selecting products as you type from the search box
You can also select product filters as you search. When you type the name of a product into the search box, IBM Knowledge Center will show you Product Filters that match what you type. Select your choices from the Product Filters section of the search drop-down box as you type. Your selections are applied when you click away from the drop-down box.
Letting us drive: automatic search filtering by product
When you navigate through a product's content, IBM Knowledge Center will apply a search filter for you automatically! IBM KC does this whenever you click in a product's table of contents--you don't have to log in, or select products, or do anything else.
As you move through different products, the search filter will change dynamically to match your product's context. If you navigate to a Product's overview page (where all the versions of a product are represented), then IBM KC applies a search filter automatically for all of the product versions!
For example, let's say you search in IBM Knowledge Center with the keywords creating an agent. You want the results from Cognos Business Intelligence 10.1.1, and you so you click on the topic called "Creating an Agent" (you can see this belongs to Cognos Business Intelligence 10.1.1 from the search summary Found in entry).
When you go to this topic, nothing immediately changes in terms of your search filters. You can look at the topic and see if it's what you want, but if you click on Search results on the left-hand side of IBM Knowledge Center, then you will go back to searching all of IBM Knowledge Center.
But let's say you decide to stay in the table of contents for Cognos Business Intelligence, where, after looking at the initial topics you found, you see a tutorial on creating agents called Tutorial--Creating an Agent. It's in the Table of Contents just underneath where you landed from search. As soon as you click on the tutorial topic inside the table of contents, IBM Knowledge Center will apply a product filter for you automatically:
Now your results will be limited to Cognos Business Intelligence 10.1.1--and all you had to do was click inside the Table of Contents.
Of course, you can clear this search filter by clicking on the X next to the product's name. You can also navigate to other products if you like, and the automatic search filter will follow you.
For example, if you now navigate to the Cognos Business Intelligence product page by clicking on the link in the table of contents, IBM Knowledge Center will apply a search filter for all the versions of Cognos Business Intelligence on that page.
Mixing and matching, and turning off automation
Once you have selected a set of products you want to search regularly, don't forget to bookmark your searches so you can launch them later. If you can't share bookmarks when you work with IBM Knowledge Center, log in with your IBM ID and save your favorite searches instead.
If you want, you can combine these product selection methods as you work in IBM Knowledge Center. But if you select product filters directly from Add Products or from search type-ahead, they will "stick" or persist through your work session with IBM Knowledge Center.
On the other hand, the automatic product filters are based on your navigation context and will change as you navigate different products inside IBM Knowledge Center.
In fact, the automatic filter even adds products after you've selected the ones you know you're interested in--if you navigate outside of the product context you're filtering. You can use this as a temporary search filter when browsing other products in the Table of Contents. By default, IBM KC always tracks where you are, and adds to the filters you've selected directly, if necessary, to provide you with relevant search results.
If you don't want the automated search filter adding to your product selections as you navigate, you can turn it off completely. On the Search Results page, click on Search Options and uncheck Automatically select a product based on the current context
Once you do that, only the products you select directly will appear as search filters, and navigating won't have any effect on your search results.
IBM Knowledge Center has been experiencing some issues over the last week as we redirect our Information Centers to the new site. Please be assured that our team has been working on diagnosing and resolving the issues, and that these systems are monitored 24x7.
As of 5PM EDT on June 11, performance in IBM Knowledge Center was restored, and we're working diligently to fully understand the root cause and ensure outages like this don't happen again.
In the future, if you need to report a problem with the Knowledge Center not working, please use the normal regional IBM support channel http://www.ibm.com/planetwide/index.html#region and then choose your country, or you can contact us directly at email@example.com.
We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience we've caused you, and thank you for your patience in this transition period.
Jamie Roberts 2700035UUK firstname.lastname@example.org 310 Visits
I'm very happy to be presenting IBM Knowledge Center at the Center for Information Management's Best Practices conference this week. I'll be discussing what we've accomplished so far, as well as some of our plans for the next releases of IBM Knowledge Center.
If you're at the conference, please introduce yourself and say hello!
Jamie Roberts 2700035UUK email@example.com 507 Visits
We just wanted to let everyone know that our Feedback link has been restored in the footer of IBM Knowledge Center. From there, you can comment directly to us on an individual topic in IBM KC or on the IBM Knowledge Center framework itself.
We do appreciate your comments and questions, and look forward to communicating with you as we continue to redirect IBM Information Centers and improve IBM Knowledge Center.
Your feedback: some recent questions about IBM Knowledge Center
Over the course of our current IBM Knowledge Center beta--which has been extended through the end of March--we received a fair number of questions about the infrastructure and design of IBM KC and how to get the most out of it.
Here are three of the ones we're hearing a lot :)
Google and IBM Knowledge Center
Q: Why doesn't Google find "the right topic" in IBM Knowledge Center right now? If you search on a lot of IBM technical topics with Google, you still go to Information Center content instead of IBM Knowledge Center.
A: Although IBM Knowledge Center is visible on the web, and we're making our content available to Google, we are still in beta! So Google is doing the right thing right now by taking you to an Information Center for your queries: they are still the official home of IBM Technical Publications.
Google and other web search engines don't like "duplicate" content from the same site. Duplication is often "noisy" in search results--and it can cause important information to be missed. As a result, Google won't show you duplicated content migrated from our Information Centers to IBM Knowledge Center right now.
But when we exit our current beta, and make IBM Knowledge Center the official site for IBM Technical Publications on ibm.com, we will redirect the Information Centers directly to IBM Knowledge Center. Then Google and other web search engines will "switch" results to IBM Knowledge Center automatically.
So in the future, web search engines like Google will find IBM Knowledge Center content as well as they find Information Center content now (actually, we hope it will be better!).
Search highlighting on the page
Q: Why doesn't IBM Knowledge Center highlight search result keywords, as the Information Centers do?
A: The design point for IBM Knowledge Center search was to make it as much like search that you use elsewhere and on the web, as much as possible, so we removed search highlighting. We often heard as well that highlighting results makes the pages found hard to read. In addition, with a sophisticated search engine in IBM Knowledge Center, that uses synonyms and other mechanisms to find relevant pages, highlighting doesn't always work! If you're working with a long page, and want to search for a specific term on a page, you can just use the browser search (CTRL-F / CMD-F (Mac)) and you can see all the instances of a term within a page.
Q: Why does IBM Knowledge Center take up so much page space with navigation, banners, and search? All I want to do is read (or print) a topic.
A: We wanted you to be able to get to search, or to the Table of Contents, very easily and all the time in IBM Knowledge Center. But sometimes you just need to read, and the rest of the application can be distracting. So you can view any topic with "more space for reading" in a couple of different ways.
First, you can slide the vertical bar that separates the table of contents from the content, and arrange the content pane to be much larger (or get a very large view of an item in the Table of Contents).
You can also click the "Close" button to hide the Table of Contents completely!
Finally, our favourite way to read content--just content without a banner or any other interface--or to print a single topic--is to right-click the table of contents and select Open in New Tab (content only)